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Differences in Sorcery


Tywyll

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I've been looking over old RQ stuff trying to prepare for the coming of BRP.

While doing so, I've come across several different versions of Sorcery. There is the original one, in RQ3, the updated one in RQ4, Sandy Petersen's take, and finally, the MRQ one.

Trying to keep them all in my head is making my eyes bleed.

Could someone who is familiar with them tell me about them, their differences, which are easiest to play with in game and any other bits and bobs worth mentioning? I'll admit that of my limited RQ experience, Sorcery got the least attention back in the day (no direct damage spells, and I was coming from d&d).

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Sorry, I only use the RQ2 version... ;)

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RQ2 didn't have sorcery.

There was a Chaosium product called "Worlds of Wonder" that contained an early version of sorcery. You can probably find a copy on the web.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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Not really.

I never used a lot of sorcery in my campaigns.

RQ3 sorcery wasn't too bad, but Free INT meant that a beginning sorcerer and a master sorcerer could cast the same strength spell, it just took the beginner longer.

I looked over the sorcery in Worlds of Wonder but wasn't particularly impressed.

I have read Sandy Petersen's Sorcery rules but didn't understand them and didn't like some of his rules.

RQ4 had some improvements in sorcery, as I recall, but they weren't drastic improvements.

RQM has a lot of sorcery, as it covers the God Learners/Jrusteli. It has a lot of sorcerous schools each with specialist spells. There are sorcery spells spcifically aimed at making HeroQuesting easier.

As to the differences between them, I don't really know. I'm not that interested in sorcery and haven't gone into things in great depth.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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Not really.

Well, actually you gave me a pretty good run down right there. :)

I've read and understand MRQ pretty well. The stuff in Sandy Petersen's stuff seems interesting, but perhaps more complicated than its worth. I've not had a chance to read through RQ4 in detail, and I was always underwhelmed by RQ3's Sorcery.

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The MagicWorld stuff has made it into BRP as "Magic"; the "Sorcery" stuff is actually the Sorcery from Stormbringer 5th Edition, and has nothing to do with any of the RuneQuest version.s

BRP Sorcery is actually a very simple and tidy system - basically anyone with POW 16+ can use sorcery, sorcery spells can have 1-4 "levels" (though most just have 1), and you can hold in your memory as many levels of sorcery as your INT. You can store all other sorcery spells you own in your Grimoire, and swap them in and out of memory as required.

Casting Sorcery spells costs 1PP per level of spell. They always work (ie no % roll like Magic), but may require a Resistance Roll (usually PP vs PP) to take effect against a resisting target.

That's pretty much it. BRP gives you a basic list of spells, but the system is very modular and its easy to plug in new ones. For ease of use it's reminiscent of RQ2 Battle Magic, but includes some cool stuff like group sorcery workings, summonings, and so on.

Hope that helps,

Sarah

"The Worm Within" - the first novel for The Chronicles of Future Earth, coming 2013 from Chaosium, Inc.

Website: http://sarahnewtonwriter.com | Twitter: @SarahJNewton | Facebook: TheChroniclesOfFutureEarth

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Sandy's sorcery rules aren't actually difficult, but have to be read carefully and thought about. I went through them a few years ago, wrote out some examples and realized that it can actually be used in game play very simply, but to read about it seems laboriously complicated. I like his rules very much.

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As the "Safelstran man" here, I have played with ALL the versions and can give you a nice account of the four variations (I'll not count RQ4 in although it has its merits). To avoid confusion, I'll refer to Sorcery as Malkioni Magic, as BRP's Sorcery is the equivalent of Divine Magic in RQ.

Original RQ3: a sorcerer in RQ3 was in fact the weakest of magicians, and required 100+ stored Power Points to be viable. His role was just that of the supporting character who used to cast long-lasting spells to enhance the party's characteristics, as it took him two melee rounds to cast a spell that could disable an opponent, whereas a simple Befuddle acted in two strike ranks. Skill only affected how many times you had to retry before your spell worked, and an Adept without a decent array of Intellect Spirits was even weaker than a beginner due to the flawed Free INT rule (yes, RuneQuest had flaws, too :P )

RQ3 with errata (or Games Workshop): the revised Multispell rules finally made Malkioni Magic superior in combat to other magic systems. A powerful wizard was able to take down a squad of men with a single spell, and this was more fun to play.

Sandy's Malkioni Magic: this was intentionally aimed at Glorantha, and worked decently. You have to introduce a new score for characters, Presence, and this requires additional bookkeeping, but your power is now connected to adherence to some principles ("vows"), which is more Malkioni, and skill at casting, not Free INT. I used it for Henotheists and Stygians as secondary cult magic instead of Spirit Magic and it worked fine, as players were forced to roleplay their cult vows to get more magic. Sorcerous Humakti with permanent Damage Boosting on their swords are .... scary :shocked:

Warning: do not read further. You might not like what you read.

You were warned. Especially the One who Breeds Amphibians.

Mongoose Sorcery: it is by far the best incarnation of RuneQuest Malkioni Magic, if you accept the fact that a half dozen spells are totally botched and need total rewriting. A wizard reacts faster than a theist magician, and once he reaches a good skill with magic he can cast devastating spells at a cost of one or two Power Points, plus cantrips for zero Power Points. This is the first BRP magic system that allows you to have a powerful magician that does not rely on external Power Point sources. This is The Way it was Meant to Be.

(waits for the people with the tar and feathers)

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as BRP's Sorcery is the equivalent of Divine Magic in RQ.

Erm... how, exactly? As far as I can see it's nothing like it! :D

i.) You don't sacrifice permanent POW for BRP Sorcery

ii.) BRP Sorcery spells aren't one-use / need to be prayed for to get back at a temple

iii.) You pay power points to cast a BRP sorcery spell

iv.) You can only have a certain number of BRP sorcery spells in memory

v.) You can cast BRP sorcery spells from a Grimoire

How is that the "equivalent" of RQ Divine Magic?

Cheers,

Sarah

"The Worm Within" - the first novel for The Chronicles of Future Earth, coming 2013 from Chaosium, Inc.

Website: http://sarahnewtonwriter.com | Twitter: @SarahJNewton | Facebook: TheChroniclesOfFutureEarth

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Mongoose Sorcery: it is by far the best incarnation of RuneQuest Malkioni Magic, if you accept the fact that a half dozen spells are totally botched and need total rewriting. A wizard reacts faster than a theist magician, and once he reaches a good skill with magic he can cast devastating spells at a cost of one or two Power Points, plus cantrips for zero Power Points. This is the first BRP magic system that allows you to have a powerful magician that does not rely on external Power Point sources. This is The Way it was Meant to Be.

:lol: You forgot to mention that MRQ sorcery allows you to cast un-Manipulated sorcery spells for ZERO power points. So, after every battle the sorceror can completely heal everybody's wounds, for free! Now that's POWER! >:->

(Sorry, couldn't resist :lol:)

"The Worm Within" - the first novel for The Chronicles of Future Earth, coming 2013 from Chaosium, Inc.

Website: http://sarahnewtonwriter.com | Twitter: @SarahJNewton | Facebook: TheChroniclesOfFutureEarth

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RQ2 didn't have sorcery.

Yes, just my little joke - sorry! :)

You were warned. Especially the One who Breeds Amphibians. ... (waits for the people with the tar and feathers)

Don't get me wrong. If a system is good, or has good parts, I'll say so. Or bad. Be they BRP or even MRQ...

... How is that the "equivalent" of RQ Divine Magic?

Of course it isn't, you are right. I suspect he just says stuff like this to cause confusion.

As the "Safelstran man" here, I have played with ALL the versions and can give you a nice account of the four variations...<possibly useful run-down snipped>... Mongoose Sorcery: it is by far the best...

That does sound good. I'll give it a proper look, sometime.

:lol: You forgot to mention that MRQ sorcery allows you to cast un-Manipulated sorcery spells for ZERO power points. So, after every battle the sorceror can completely heal everybody's wounds, for free! Now that's POWER! >:->

Nice! :lol: Oh dear, NOT "The Way it was Meant to Be", I'd say! Still, maybe it can be fixed (simply "minimum 1pp", perhaps?).

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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Nice! :lol: Oh dear, NOT "The Way it was Meant to Be", I'd say! Still, maybe it can be fixed (simply "minimum 1pp", perhaps?).

Actually, in all honesty from what I'm hearing it does sound like MRQ sorcery might be quite a good system when it's fixed. I'm quietly keeping an eye on it from the sidelines - it's clear it does need some pretty extensive rewriting in places, but it does seem like it's a considered and progressive forward step from the RQ3 Sorcery system. You never know! :happy:

I appreciate BRP Sorcery is not in the same continuum as the RQ Sorcery systems, but IMHO it's a simple, elegant, and very scalable magic system with some cool summoning rules, and one which I'll be using as my principal BRP magic system. Comparing apples and pears, really, but it's definitely *not* like RQ3 Divine Magic!

Cheers,

Sarah

"The Worm Within" - the first novel for The Chronicles of Future Earth, coming 2013 from Chaosium, Inc.

Website: http://sarahnewtonwriter.com | Twitter: @SarahJNewton | Facebook: TheChroniclesOfFutureEarth

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How is that the "equivalent" of RQ Divine Magic?

My bad. I was referring to the automatic casting roll only. In any case, it was rather confusing on the part of Chaosium to name it Sorcery, since traditionally RQ Sorcery it skill-based magic while the other magic systems are auto-casting or characteristic-based. But the name was taken from Stormbringer, yes.

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Nice! :lol: Oh dear, NOT "The Way it was Meant to Be", I'd say! Still, maybe it can be fixed (simply "minimum 1pp", perhaps?).

This has been discussed for a long time on the appropriate forum. The fix is already on the MRQ Wiki: if you fail the roll, you pay 1 MP (or PP if you prefer). However, if you took the time to actually test it in play, you would notice that the zero magic point rule is definitely the best improvement, and the system is worth trying even without the fix.

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:lol: You forgot to mention that MRQ sorcery allows you to cast un-Manipulated sorcery spells for ZERO power points. So, after every battle the sorceror can completely heal everybody's wounds, for free! Now that's POWER! >:->

On the contrary, I remembered. I mentioned "cantrips at zero PP", and that is one of the improvements in the magic system. Treat wounds is one of the spells that need reworking, because repeated castings have a cumulative effect. Together with Shapechange, Fly and others. But this is the first time we have a Malkioni Magic system that does not make you feel "Sheesh, we should rework it from scratch!"

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On the contrary, I remembered. I mentioned "cantrips at zero PP", and that is one of the improvements in the magic system. Treat wounds is one of the spells that need reworking, because repeated castings have a cumulative effect. Together with Shapechange, Fly and others. But this is the first time we have a Malkioni Magic system that does not make you feel "Sheesh, we should rework it from scratch!"

Is there a list or errata anywhere that has the spells that need fixing?

I read some complaints on the Mongoose board, especially about the Heal spell, but they mentioned a few others. Anywhere where that's been put together in one place?

I'd think the easiest fix for Heal would be to say that its not cumulative... a wound can only be healed by magic once, so do you want it to be a Heal 12 or a Heal 1? After that, you are left with time and first aid.

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I've played and used RQ sorcery a lot.

RQ3 (after the errata) is book-keeping heavy. Most spell casting is actually done during down time with sorcerors pre-casting long duration spells on themselves. It's not a "plug and play" system as even the weakest spells tend to need multiple Power Points(*) to cast. Once you have a powerful Magus though (e.g. about 50 years of game time) then they're humongously powerful. Summary: High book-keeping, extremely weak at low level, probably over-powered at high levels.

RQ4. This attempted to downgrade the top end of sorcery and adopted some ideas from Sandy Peterson's system. Still requires extremely complex book-keeping.

Sandy's system. A very different beast. Much of the system requires Gloranthan cosmology because sorcerors gain power by taking restrictive vows. You could re-engineer it into other game worlds. Tends to require a lot of book-keeping and downtime.

MRQ. The simplest system. At first glance looks like RQ3 as sorcerors have skills for each spell and each art. However spells cost far fewer PPs to cast. Cast at the base level they cost nothing. Because MRQ makes POW gaining a lot harder than other versions of RQ, MRQ sorcerors can generally make a decent fist at magic using just personal power. MRQ is the strongest sorcery system at the bottom end but progresses in a linear gradient rather than exponentially as does the rest of RQ.

MRQ is my favourite but has one HUGE problem; Mongoose's right hand never knows what their left hand is up to. Thus, the spells have been basically copied from RQ3 without noticing the differences in the system, especially the ability to free cast base level spells. This means that some spells are ludicrously overpowered, some the reverse and some simply don't work. You can't seriously run MRQ sorcery as written because of this.

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Mongoose Sorcery: it is by far the best incarnation of RuneQuest Malkioni Magic, if you accept the fact that a half dozen spells are totally botched and need total rewriting. A wizard reacts faster than a theist magician, and once he reaches a good skill with magic he can cast devastating spells at a cost of one or two Power Points, plus cantrips for zero Power Points. This is the first BRP magic system that allows you to have a powerful magician that does not rely on external Power Point sources. This is The Way it was Meant to Be.

(waits for the people with the tar and feathers)

Actually, from what I'd read, it definitely appeared to be the simplest of the systems (and in many ways, the most playable).

My concerns with it are the following:

1) As mentioned, I think many spells need to be tweaked so as to prevent abuse.

2) Improvement. The system works in MRQ where you decide which skills go up, but since you activate several skills in a single role, how do you decide to handle improvement rolls in a "use=skill check" system? I was thinking that each time you used meta-magic skills while casting, you'd only get a single check and it could go to any one of the skills involved.

3) Power. I definitely agree that its finally a potent magic. Is it too potent though? Any Sorcerer can through out an Intensity 5 or 6 spell for a single MP, while spirit and even divine mages are struggling. Is this not imbalanced too much? I mean, I guess since I'm not using Glorantha I could ditch Spirit magic full stop, but I'd probably use Divine magic for Priests and I guess Sorcery for Arcane.

Any thoughts or experiences would be appreciated.

Cheers!

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Since I heavily used RQIII sorcery, Sandy'e sorcery and MRQ sorcery, I can answer the question.

-RQIII sorcery

each spell is a skill (raised with a skill check),

each manipulation is a skill (raised only with training or research),

the spell's manipulation is limited by the Free INT (but if a spell matrix is used,any manipulation enchanted into it is added)

There is no limit on the number of spells the wizard can have active at a given time.

The trick is to remember that a spell with duration 10 lasts 1 week, and duration 16 means 1 year (64 weeks).

So with careful planning a sorcerer can have his defensive spells up for a long time, and have enough magic points to be useful to his comrades.

Let us remember the stupefy spell (pagans have low free INT), or the drain spell (fatigue points are removed) that can be cast at more than 500 m (range 6 = 640 m), and that can be really nasty, if a sorcerer wants a direct attack spell.

But, it is true that the bookkeping is heavy.

Begining characters are weak, but even experienced ones have always something to do to be even more powerful.

-Sandy'sorcery

each spell is a skill (raisable by experience)

each manipulation can be a skill, but usually is an art (either you have it or not)

each sorcerer has a presence.

the spell's manipulation is limited by the free presence and the skill in the spell

the number of spells active at the same time is limited by the presence.

The bookkeeping is lighter than with RQIII sorcery, but it's manageable.

My worst nighmare is someone with a spear affected by damage boosting and Wachaza's Fang ...

-MRQ sorcery

each spell is a skill

each manipulation is a skill

The outcome of a spell casting is more complex to know than in the previous versions, because the manipulation used are determined by the result of the dice roll.

(ie a sorcerer can succeeds in some manipulation and fail in others)

It is much less costly than the previous version, but the linear scale used for the range and the duration manipulation means that begining characters are even weaker than before.

A befudle spell has a range of POW x 10 m, and only a sorcerer with a range skill of 91+% can hope to equal this.

And as RosenMcStern wrote many spells need to be rewritten.

Cheers

Jean

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My bad

I forgot to tell what is my favourite verion.

It would be Sandy's sorcery, then RQIII then MRQ

Cheers

Jean

Thank you very much!

Would you mind sharing why they are your favorites? What is it about Sandy's that works so well for you?

What is meant by an 'Art' in his style of magic and what leads to you getting one?

Are there 'direct' offensive spells (those that cause damage)?

Do you have any experience with RQ4 Sorcery?

Cheers!

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